Here it is at last, the final portion of the Soma Swimsuit Sew Along. We hope you have made up the suit, and fairly certain it won’t be the last suit you make. Let us know if you have any issues or questions. And, now let’s have Rhonda give us some final pointers on sewing the Soma Swimsuite from Paper Cut Patterns.
A swimsuit is just a few small pieces of fabric, so how can it be that they can be one of the most intimidating garments to put together, not to mention, one of the most intimidating to wear? As with any garment, it all boils down to fit. Fit, that awful little 3 letter word!
When making a swimsuit, one of the easiest places to make a mistake is in the fit of the legs. The elastic is too tight, too loose, or just doesn’t fit the leg correctly. In this post, I will help you get the proper fit, and you’ll see that it’s much easier than you may think.
In our last post, we sewed the bottom of the suit together and lined it in 1 easy step. Now it’s time to add the elastic to the leg openings
Begin by using a zigzag stitch to baste the lining to the fashion fabric. Stitch around the waistline as well as each leg opening.
Now for the elastic. Where many make a mistake is in thinking that the elastic should be smaller than the front leg opening. If you take a look at your body, you’ll see that the area from the hips to the top of the leg is really quite flat. Where we do need a little fit is around the buttocks, but only around the buttocks.
When measuring out the elastic for the leg opening, the elastic should measure the same as the front opening. The measurement around the back of the leg should be approximately 1″ sorter than the measurement of the back leg opening.
When sewing the elastic to the leg opening, do not pull the elastic around the front of the leg, it should lay flat against the fabric.
In the picture below, you see that the elastic has been pulled only in the back and where the elastic will provide fit around the buttocks.
The elastic can be zigzagged to the leg opening, or you may use a serger. But for those of you who do not have a serger, a serger is not necessary for making swimsuits, just a machine with a zigzag stitch.
Once the elastic has been zigzagged to the edge of the leg opening, roll the elastic in towards the inside of the suit and zigzag once more. The leg opening of the suit is now finished!
The finished back legs of the suit.
We’ll sit the bottom of the suit aside while we finish the top of the suit.
As with the bottom of the suit, we will baste the lining to the fashion fabric for the top of the suit with a zigzag stitch.
The pattern calls for the suit to be finished with foldover elastic. My only problem with this is 2-fold, the elastic can be expensive and you may not be able to find elastic that will match your fabric. Of course, foldover elastic will make finishing the top of the suit a breeze, just foldover the edge and zigzag in place, but what if you can’t find elastic to match your fabric? I used a coordinating fabric.
To do this, cut a strip of fabric 2″ wide in the direction where the fabric has the greatest stretch. Although the fabric is a 4-way stretch fabric, it will usually stretch more in 1 direction than in the other 3 directions, so test the fabric before cutting the strip.
Once the 2″ wide strip is cut, fold it it half and lightly steam the fold to mark the fold. But remember that the fabric has elastic that will melt, so please be sure that your iron is on a low heat setting and that you don’t hold the iron down on the fabric.
Once the fold has been steamed, open the strip up and turn back the raw edges. and then fold the strip back in half. Your binding has now been made.
Begin by placing the binding over the front edge of the suit, sandwiching the raw edge inside the folded strip. Zigzag in place. Be sure that the strip is at least 4″ longer than the front edge as you will need the extra to attach the strips to the rings.
The strip that is placed along the edge under the arm should be 1/2″ shorter than the suit. In the picture below, you see that the strip is slightly shorter. Simply pull the strip to ease in the fabric. By doing this, the suit will cup around the bust and offer a better fit. With this strip, be sure that it is also 4″ longer that the edge of the suit as it will also be attached to the decorative ring.
For the shoulder strap, I once again sandwiched the back edge of the suit inside the folded strip. With this strip, please be sure to have enough to wrap over the shoulder and become a shoulder strap.
My straps are in place and all of the edges of the suit are now finished.
To join the 2 fronts, simply match the center front notches and then baste together with a zigzag stitch.
To join the top to the bottom, match the notches to the side seams, and once again, using a zigzag stitch, sew the top to the bottom.
The top and bottom are now attached, but we need to add a little fit to the waistline with elastic.
Take your elastic and place it comfortably around your waist. Take the elastic and zigzag it to the waistline seam allowance.
Once the elastic has been stitched to the waistline seam, fold the seam down toward the bottom of the suit and stitch the seam down with a zigzag stitch. The suit will now securely fit the waist.
With the suit I made for the magazine as well as this suit, I thought outside the box for the decorative ring. I was very fortunate to find this hook ring that perfectly matched my fabric.
With whatever type of ring that you use, simply fold the 2 strips over the ring and zigzag in place.
In order to get a good fit on the shoulder straps, you will need to try the suit on. Try the suit on and pull the shoulder straps through the ring until the straps fit snugly over the shoulders.
Once the shoulder straps are in place, you will once again need to try the suit on to assure a good fit with the cross straps. I once again used my coordinating fabric to make my cross straps. Zigzag the cross straps at an angle to the shoulder straps.
Once the cross straps are in place…
The Suit Is Finished!!!!
A note about fit, you may decide that you would like the suit to be a little more secure at center front. If this is the case, simply try the suit on and pin the center front of the suit together where it will be comfortable for you. To stitch the 2 fronts together, stitch over the zigzag stitching.
I am in love with my new suit and I can’t wait to jump in the water!!!
I hope you’ve enjoyed making a new swimsuit. If you have not purchased the Papercut Soma Swimsuit, but think you might like to give the pattern a try, you can find it HERE at Shop Sew It All.
Happy Sewing, and Happy Summer!